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tv   Our World With Black Enterprise  FOX  January 15, 2012 5:30am-6:00am PST

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>> you're watching "our world with black enterprise." ♪ ♪ ♪ on this special edition of "our world with black enterprise" woe catch up with the cast of the new blockbuster film "red tail" which tells the story of the tuskegee airmen. then one real airman tells his
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>> welcome to "our world with black enterprise." i'm marc lamont hill. it's one of the most anticipated films of the year. >> we've been given orders to provide air cover. [ cheering >> "red tails" tells the story of world war ii pilots.
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>> from the last plane, to the last minute, we fight! >> we fight! >> i caught up with two of the film's stars, terence howard and david oyelowu. >> i just saw the film and it's an amazing film. >> when we came under your command, colonel, you stated clearly that you would never find negroes who passed the pilot exam and make it through flight school and survive basic combat. we've done all of that. >> how important is it to have films like this in hollywood? >> well, it's every -- every great individual or great accomplishment has had someone to champion it along the way, there's been someone to endorse it. so for the black community or the black cinematic community to have been championed by george lucas, to have been championed by the magical experience associated with green screen, that we haven't really been
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afforded before. now we're afforded that by the master of it, by the inventor of it and what we are able to do and such an incredible story, the tus keyingee airmen, the gods of the sky. these young men, 18, 19 years old that were able to go and conquer the world and even be humble about it and not care that anyone know about it. >> how did that opportunity sort of connect with you personally? what was it like to play an airman and particularly one so powerful. >> i always felt the character i play, lightning, as the embodiment of audacity of youth. there is something in your body in a young man in your late teens and 20s, the notion of death is so far away from you and that's what you need to be able to get into this flying tin can and go and try and save the world, and you know, when we -- i got to be around the tuskegee airmen, one of the things that struck me is under these
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particular circumstances, the tuskegee airmen earn the cream of the crop and they were chosen to go and save the world with their brilliance and when they were in europe they were held back from -- from what they could achieve because only white pilots were being sent to the front. it was through desperation. >> right. >> that the tuskegee airmen got out to go and do what they were trying to do because they were hemorrhaging so many piloter pilots and they had 18 months training as opposed to three months and they used their adversity and turned it into something beautiful. >> this idea of mentorship. your character in particular has a very strong presence. you have the courage to speak back to white officers and even female officers. >> we have the right to fight for our country the same as every other american. will you shut us down or will you let us fly. >> what was it like to engage that character? >> one of the things that i
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learned in the process of dealing with lee archer and roscoe brown was that the need to be extremely assertive, but disciplined about what you were doing. you can be passionate about what you have to say, but you cannot become emotional. the moment you become emotional it is discarded as some emotional idea. as long as you spoke it as a factual and intelligent man and present it on a logical platform, it had to be taken seriously. it had to be considered, and that's something that we need to really learn and exercise because we have a tendency when things get out of control to get out of control with it, and forget that the stature of a man is his levelheadedness. >> that's one of the lessons you offer his character because your character will sometimes fly off the handle in the face of racism. >> absolutely. this is a rite of passage movie. it's about going from a boy to a man and we're full of potential when we're young in this way, but what terence's character
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represents to me is an opportunity to be guided, an opportunity to take the talent and the strength i clearly have or the character of lightning has and to channel it and that's what these guys did. their job, their work as heroes didn't end in the world war ii. they came back to america and they changed, they changed america. you know, what they did over in europe, what they did in the world in those planes began the desegregation of the military, which began the desegregation of the south, which began the civil rights movement which began the legacy in which we have an african-american president. what they did is what we are now living the legacy of and that's what -- that's what cannot be denied. that it starts with a seed and it grows from there. >> i have to tell you, i saw the movie in a theater that was multi-racial, multi-generational and there was a scene where you step off the plane and for the first time your character sees cuba gooding, jr.'s, character
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and there's no dialogue at first and he just salutes you and he smiles at you with this pride and everybody in my row, their eyes just filled and everyone was smiling and it was a powerful moment and nothing was said. it was the idea of seeing strong, black, dignified figures on the screen that just moved everybody. >> i personally think that was an exciting moment when cuba and i came together because for years i've signed his fame as everyone thought that i was cuba gooding, jr. everyone thought he was terence howard. literally, i sat down with president bush a week ago, watching this film, george h. bush and the caption in the newspaper said cuba gooding, jr., sits with george bush. so for the first time you actually get to see me and my alter ego at the same time. >> wow! >> one of the amazing things about doing this film has been the fact that it's one of the first times with this size of movie, that a group of -- of
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black actors have been able to come together and be the center of the story, and what that engendered, you know, there is a syndrome. there is a syndrome i've identified coming from the uk here is that we have pointier, and we have denzel. who will be the next denzel? this symbol that there can only be one. i hope that with the film that we've blown that out of the water. >> if this film is any indication, the legacy will be long, deep and beautiful. thank you very much for spending time with me. up next, cuba gooding, jr., and nate parker. >> i play raymond, they call me junior in the movie, and did you know that the tuskegee airmen that were in the program were from the age of 17 to 25, they were kids saving the world.
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i put up 70 million or 60 million for the movie and then i wanted the studio to put up the other 35 million, and they didn't want to so i had to. this is to prove that black films can make money and if that happens then there will be more black films. >> it was completely honest especially to channelize the story of the tuskegee airmen. as my first film especially, i couldn't think of any other story that i really would want to get launched out on. >> welcome back. today we're talking about the film "red tail." i sat down with cuba gooding, jr., and nate parker. >> thank you for being here. talk to me about why this film
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is so important. >> it is so important on so many levels. one, we get to celebrate our heroes, black men, masculine men that are making decisions to determine the outcome of the film. >> when you say that, the cast, the director. >> yes. in the sense of the film, oftentimes we do a film about the black experience and we have other people telling the stories and you have other people that are heroes and now you have a chance to celebrate black heros and to be a part of it as actor, it's an incredible experience. >> you've had a lot of experience, obviously, in hollywood. how rare is it to have the opportunity to have black heroes in the film? >> very rare. if you look at the films that i really go after and i get excited about doing, "men of honor," dory miller in "pearl harbor" and the tuskegee and "red tail," it inspires me to
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get involved in films that tell a story of black history. when i was doing the first tuskegee airmen, i had finished my schooling and knew nothing about the tuskegee airmen. i have two boys and i've made it my mission to make sure that doesn't happen to them. a lot of kids today, they get their history lessons through the cinema, through these stories that are told so passionately. >> get your head up, son. you're a fighter pilot. >> i know you're a student of history, and i often hear you and see you talk to young people about history, about society, about issues of race and racism. how important will this film be as an educational tool? >> you think about it and you say, it bears no fruit. we look at our community and we see a fruitless community in many ways and they say we have a black president and more scholars and we have more people
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in prison and more disease in our community. the way to tackle those issue, we have to look back to a time when we did persevere and make it through adversity. you have these men, like youed in double victory, they were fighting a war at home with racism and men being lynched in uniforms and here they are fighting for the same country they believe in and are proud. >> it didn't have the disneyesque feel where everyone's a hero and everyone's perfect and no one dies and you all walk away. this had flaws. >> many flaws. it was something i really, really admire george and anthony for is not presenting a character that just came in and saved the day. this was a man that was 21, 22 years old and he had the responsibility of this entire flight unit on him, and the thing about it is, when you lose someone the next day you have to get back out there and they look to you to guide them and you're the same age. you say, what do you do now that
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we lost air brother? you get back on the tarmac. the way to cope with that anxiety, i used a coping mechanism. some people cope with food and some people cope with a volatile attitude. this character had alcoholism, but at the same te all of those moments built up to him saying this is not for me anymore. i'm going to be a man and stand on my own two feet without this crutch given what happened over the course of his time. >> one of the way that the character gets away from the mode of self-pity is through the senior characters in the film. when people are complaining about racism and white supremacy and your karic has a quiet dignity. how important was it for you to protect that image? >> i've been researching the tuskegee airman from the late '90s and the one figure that stood out that i drew inspiration was general davis, jr., and not just his quiet dignity, but the fact that he
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had the command of the entire 332nd fighter group in africa as well as the air base in italy, came back to the united states and testified in front of congress and showed that these men were actually helping the war efforts, you know? and i found a lot of inspiration through that, and like i say, a gravit gravitas, and just an ease to stand in front of these men and say what i had to say to get them to do what they needed to do to overcome these situations in the sky, you know, and these war machines. >> in the film there are two generations of black actors as well. what was it like being on a set like that where there seemed to be a lot of mentoring, teaching, opportunities to learn, pick people's brains. what was it like? >> i'd say in the same way with the tuskegee airmen, they were dependent on each other and it was the same for us. it was an experiment that they were going to fly. let's see what they do and see what happens. if it works, there will be
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progress and it led to the desessigregation of the militar. hollywood was, like, here they go. what's going on happen? we clung to each other on set and every moment and sharing sponsiblity and what do you think? any pointers? how did you like that scene? because we needed each other. we had to serve this project. there's no room to be selfish and no room for ego because the worst-case scenario is this represents the last time to tell the story with resources. >> and not just this story, but also an attempt to have all-black actors and black directors come in and push any story. >> did you feel any pressure? >> also, let's not forget we had lee archer and roscoe and a few other real tuskegee airmen on set. >> on set every day. >> when you're working it's like a research, and they told us
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stories and what was intimidating was seeing them at the screening. that was scary because now there was nothing you could do, but sit and be judged on how much truth you told, you know? and that was pretty nerve-racking and he's heard me tell the story a few times, but i was looking over the shoulder of a couple of these airmen as they were sitting in the theater watching the movie and they weren't really moving. and i'm, like, is he awake? you know what i mean? i notice his shoulder is doing this, and i looked deeper and as the dogfights are happening on the screen, his hand's like this and he's flying the plane and the tears in my eyes because i know i connected with him, his character connected with him in such a way that he felt like he was doing -- and then what the lights came up everybody was just emotional. >> with this story you all put a spotlight in the history and some of the richness and the humanity. i thank you all so much for your time. >> hey, man. >> up next, we talk to one of the original tus teagkegee airm.
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>> they never lost a single bomber. not one. while the pilots were flying off trying to get killed and be rock stars in the air, these guys were doing the job they were supposed to do and protected the bombers and never lost a single bomber. "our world with black enterprise" is brought to you in part by state farm. get a quote at statefarm.com.
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we'll be remiss if we ended this special without speaking to one of the actual tuskegee airmen. i sat down with captain roscoe brown. >> dr. roscoe brown, thank you so much. >> glad to be here. >> how do you feel when you see a film like this "red tail" come out? >> first of all, i'm thrilled. i'm gratified, and i feel that george lucas and his company have done an excellent job of presenting what we did as tuskegee airmen. so it's a high point in my life. it should be a high life in the black community's life, and it should be a high point in everybody's life because it shows what you can do when you challenge the prejudices in society and you recognize the excellence of achievement will overcome that prejudice and that's exactly what the tuskegee airmen did. >> in the film they highlight some of these moments of prejudice and not being allowed in the officer's club. how accurate was that in your experience? >> it was very accurate.
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during the world of session gregging a, people were free in saying negroes can't come in here. we don't hire mingnegroes and wd no political recourse. we were strong within ourselves says. we had our own businesses. we had our own newspapers. we had our own churches and we had our own schools. we were very, very strong and there was a feeling imposed by racism that our job was to penetrate that feeling and the tuskegee airmen were one of the groups that did that penetration. we couldn't help, but be successful even though initially they didn't think we could be. >> was it hard to fight in that context? i mean, you were fighting for a country where you could be a hero abroad, but come back home and still be a second-class citizen. >> the fact is that blacks in america have been fighting discrimination and racism for 200, almost 300 years and we were just at the end point of
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that. in my generation, we had integrated the military, we'd integrated the schools and we established civil rights legislation and we elected a black president. that's pretty damn good in 70-some-odd years, but particularly we want to address black youth. we want black youth to understand that when there are obstacles based on prejudice and poverty. you strive, you don't succumb to that. you look for opportunities to be excellent. excellence overcomes prejudice. excellence overcomes obstacles and that's why people really like to celebrate the tuskegee airmen and that's why "the red tails" is such a great, great movie. >> you model excellence and opportunity and we thank you very much for service to our country. >> thank you. >> stay right there. we'll be right back. [ cow moos [ steve i've been raising cattle pretty much all my life.
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♪ ♪ toet ♪ >> make sure you check out "red tails" which opens in theaters january 20th. that wraps it up for "our world with black enterprise." visit us on the web at blackenterprise.com/ourworld or fan us on facebook or follow me on twitter @marclamonthill. see you next week. >> promotional consideration see you next week. >> promotional consideration provided by -- -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com nnouncer) to block pain for hours. new capzasin, takes the pain out of arthritis. aspercreme breakthe grip, with maximum-sength medicine and no embarrassing odor. break the ip of pain with aspercreme.
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